The pitching matchup (w/a few notes)

The Orioles are facing another pitcher who might not be familiar to a lot of fans.

You know how that usually ends.

Tampa Bay’s Jeremy Hellickson is making his third major league start today. He’s a fourth-round pick in the 2005 draft who’s 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA. He’s allowed two runs and six hits in 14 innings, with two walks and 13 strikeouts.

Baseball America rated him as the 18th-best prospect in baseball going into the 2010 season. He started for Team USA in the Futures Game. He throws in the mid-90s and also has a plus-changeup.

The Orioles have never seen him.

They will today.

I’m happy for the Rays because they don’t have enough good young pitching.

Jake Arrieta has faced Tampa once in his brief major league career, allowing five runs and walking four in 5 1/3 innings on July 20. Matt Joyce and B.J. Upton homered off him, and he didn’t get the decision in an 11-10 victory.

Arrieta’s allowed five earned runs in three of his last five starts, most recently in Cleveland last week.

Shameless plug alert: I’m doing my usual Sunday segment on O’s Xtra, which begins at 1 p.m.

Extra notes: Ty Wigginton is batting .313 with seven RBIs during his 11-game hitting streak. He’s hit safely in 19 of his last 20 games since July 23, batting .304 in that span.

The Orioles are still trying to win their fourth consecutive series, which hasn’t been done since Aug. 2004.

Nick Markakis’ next double will be the 200th of his career.

The Orioles’ rotation has registered 54 quality starts in 117 games. Last year, the Orioles didn’t make their 55th quality start until the 153rd game of the season on Sept. 25.

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